Gibson is a guitar brand that needs no introduction. They are known for creating some of the most iconic electric guitars in history, the main one being the famous Gibson Les Paul.
Despite being released back in the 1950s, the Gibson Les Paul is still one of the most popular guitars today and used by some of the most famous modern music artists.
Everyone’s heard of Gibson Guitars before due to their quality, tone, and design.
As a result, I commonly get asked, “Where are Gibson Guitars Made?”
In short, Gibson Guitars are made exclusively in the United States. Gibson manufactures these guitars in three different factories located in Nashville, TN, Memphis, TN, and Bozeman, MT.
Gibson Guitars: Some Background Information
Gibson Brands Inc, formally known as Gibson Guitar Corporation is one of the most well-known guitar manufacturers in the world.
They were founded in Kalamazoo Michigan back over a century ago back in 1902 and are currently headquartered in Nashville Tennessee with factories in Memphis, TN, and Bozeman Montanna.
Gibson is obviously most well-known for the impact they have had in the world of electric guitars, essentially paving the way to a modern era of music with their series of iconic guitars.
These guitars include the Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, Gibson ES-335, Gibson Explorer, Flying V, and many more that are still staples in today’s modern era of music.
Where are Gibson Guitars Made?
As previously mentioned, all authentic Gibson guitars are made in the United States. They have several different factories where guitars are produced, depending on the make and model, but rest assured, all Gibson guitars are American made.
Gibson’s solid body guitars and semi-hollow body guitars, such as their Les Pauls, SGs, and ES-335 guitars are all manufactured at their headquarters located in Nashville, TN.
In addition, Gibson has another plant located in Memphis, TN where they manufacture a lot of their Semi-Hollow and Hollow body guitars like the Gibson ES-335 and other similar models.
Gibson’s Acoustic guitars are all manufactured in their factory located in Bozeman Montana.
In general, American made guitars are seen as the cream of the crop in terms of quality. This is why Gibson guitars are exclusively made in the United States to ensure the utmost quality for their prestigious brand. They do not mass produce Gibson branded guitars overseas, like many other popular guitar manufacturers. Instead, Gibson has acquired other subsidiary brands to mass-produce guitars overseas, though they do not have the Gibson logo on them.
Are Gibson Guitars Made in China?
No, authentic Gibson guitars are not made in China. The Gibson brand is known for its prestige, and thus only stamps the Gibson logo on its top-of-the-line guitars that are made in the United States.
However, since Gibson understood that their American made guitars were out of the price range for most people, they have broken into the affordable market with their subsidiary brand, Epiphone, who do manufacture their guitars in China.
If you’ve ever been to a guitar shop, then you’ve probably seen Epiphone guitars floating around. Their guitars share a nearly identical design to authentic Gibson guitars, but at a fraction of the price. This is because Epiphones guitars are mass-produced in China where the cost of labor and materials is significantly cheaper. This is Gibson’s way of making guitars in China that are more affordable and accessible to most while maintaining the prestige of the Gibson name on their American made guitars.
If you see a guitar stamped with a Gibson logo, that feels cheap, then it might be fake Gibson made in China. Gibson Les Paul guitars are some of the most counterfeited guitars out there since they are so popular. Many people refer to these guitars as “Chibson” guitars, short for “Chinese Gibson.” You’ll typically see these floating around on websites like Ali Express. These are fake Gibson guitars made in China and are not official products by Gibson.
Are Gibson Guitars Handmade?
One question I often get asked is, “Are Gibson Guitars Handmade?” Since Gibson guitars are made in the United States and have such a high price tag, many people assume that this means Gibson guitars are handmade rather than mass-produced in a factory.
The answer to this question really depends on what you mean by handmade.
In general, Gibson guitars are handmade in the sense that all of the components are assembled and touched up by hand, meaning there is a lot of manual handling of the instrument compared to mass-produced guitars overseas.
However, in order to produce a sufficient amount of guitars to meet demand, Gibson does use a CNC machine to automate the process of cutting out the wood for the individual pieces of the guitar.
Therefore, while the guitar is hand-assembled and inspected to ensure maximum quality, the entire process is not by hand as they utilize machinery to cut out the individual components of the guitar.
Is Gibson Guitars a Good brand?
As a guitar manufacturer that has been around since the very beginning, I would definitely say that Gibson is a good brand despite the financial troubles they have faced in recent years, such as filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
From a pure branding perspective, there probably isn’t a single person out there who hasn’t heard of Gibson, whether they’re a guitar player or not. Heck, even my grandma could recognize a Gibson guitar and she’s never picked up a musical instrument in her entire life.
Gibson really pioneered the electric guitar and rock music in general. They’re one of the most iconic guitar brands in history, right next to Fender.
The brand has released several classic guitar shapes over the years, such as the Les Paul, SG, ES-335, Explorer, and Flying V, which are still the most common guitars today (and copied by pretty much every other brand).
As far as guitar brands go, Gibson has cemented themselves as one of the best guitar brands in history.
Are Gibson Guitars Good?
With all of that said, are Gibson guitars actually good? Gibson guitars were no doubt the best of the best back in 1957, but how do their guitars hold up in the current day.
The competition in the guitar market is fierce. There are thousands of options to choose from.
And while American made Gibsons are definitely good guitars with outstanding build quality and tone, some people give Gibson a lot of flack for the lack of innovation.
While the vintage aspect of Gibson guitars is a part of the appeal, if you compare an original Les Paul from 1957 to a Les Paul in 2021, you’ll notice that not a lot has changed. Some fundamental flaws, such as the headstock angle, tuning stability, and playability have gone unchanged in over 60 years!
In recent years, Gibson guitars have also been known to have some quality control issues, which not something you would expect from a top-of-the-line American-made guitar, especially when you consider the price.
Other guitar brands, such as PRS, have modernized and improved upon many of the flaws that Gibson Guitars have been known for.
That said, Gibson guitars aren’t bad by any means. Many famous guitar players still swear by Gibson guitars for their iconic tone that simply can’t be replicated anywhere else.
How Much Do Gibson Guitars Cost?
As with all premium guitar brands, Gibson guitars are expensive…
In general, Gibson guitars will cost at least $1,500 on the low end up to $5,000+ on the high end. Typically, you can expect to pay somewhere in the $2,500 – $3,000 price range for the majority of their most popular guitars, such as a Gibson Les Paul Standard or a Gibson ES-335.
Why are Gibson guitars so expensive?
The main reason why Gibson guitars are so expensive is that they are made in the United States. American made guitars will always be more expensive than guitars made overseas because the labor costs are dramatically higher, which significantly ramps up the price. In addition, Gibson guitars use high-quality hardware, electronics, woods, and finishes, which also add to the price.
Related Post: What is the Average Cost of an Electric Guitar?
Should You Buy a Gibson Guitar?
If you’re still reading this post, then you’re likely wondering whether or not it still makes sense to buy a Gibson guitar today. How do these guitars actually hold up compared to the rest of the competition?
While I personally don’t think Gibson guitars give you the best bang for your buck compared to some of the competition, like PRS Guitars, there will always be a special place for them for purists who want that classic Gibson tone.
There are plenty of Les Paul Style guitars out there, but none of them can quite match the iconic tone of a real American Made Gibson Les Paul. Yea, it’s chunky, expensive, and hard to play; but there’s a certain charm that comes with playing a Gibson guitar that just makes it worth it. It’s a vintage tone machine and there is a reason it has stood the test of time despite not being changed significantly in over 60 years.
In summary, Gibson guitars are all made in America in their factories located in Nashville, Memphis, or Bozeman. Since they are American made guitars, you can bet that they are some of the highest quality guitars available today. Gibson also as a subsidiary brand, Epiphone, makes more affordable versions of Gibson guitars that are made in China.
I hope you found this article helpful! If you’re considering purchasing a Gibson guitar, but don’t know where to start, be sure to check out the rest of my guitar buying guides.